Pests – Keeping them out of your Garden

Every garden has pests.  And its virtually impossible to completely eliminate them.  But there are several ways you can deter them, as well as save your plants when a real infestation hits.

Note about Chickens and the Garden

If you’re like me with chickens – you’ve probably thought about letting them go to town in your garden.  I strongly recommend against this.  Chickens are omnivores – they’ll eat the bugs in your garden (even the good ones) as well as your precious crops.

Healthy Plants

The best pest management is healthy plants, but life isn’t always fair.  Besides keeping your plants well fed and watered, make sure you weed the garden!  Weeds can provide perfect homes for pests that will then sneak out to eat your crops!

Fight Pests with Bugs

You can attract beneficial insects to fight the pesky bugs.  Ladybugs feed on aphids, small “plant lice” that can decimate your crop if left unattended.  Other beneficial bugs include beetles, which feed on slugs that will attack your plants.

Stop To Smell The Mint

Plants like Mint produce such strong smells to pests that they will often not bother plans that are planted near it.  An option I’ve seen employed is planting mint plants about every 3 feet between your rows.  As you walk the rows to weed and pick your vegetables, stepping on the mint will release all the mentholated smells it contains.  You will enjoy the minty smell as you garden.

Planting rosemary deters ants from roaming your garden.  Ants will encourage aphid infestations as they enjoy the sugars aphids secrete.  They enjoy it so much they will hunt out your friendly ladybugs eggs to protect the aphids.   When you have an aphid problem, its imperative that you manage any ants in your garden as well!

Another option includes mixing fresh minced garlic into hot water and spraying it over your plants.  The strong odor can keep many pesky insects at bay.  But be warned, there is too much of a good thing with smells, as some of these can drive away good insects too!

Snail Pests

Enjoy Your Beer

Slugs are attracted to beer and sugar water.  Leaving out pans with about an inch of beer or sugar water inside will attract the slugs where they will drown in the fluid.

Crushed Eggs

Another slug prevention is crushed egg shells.  To slugs its like stepping on a lego!  Spread crushed egg shells around calcium loving plants such as peppers to prevent the slugs from reaching the stalk and making a climb.

Wash Your Hands!

Seriously!  Your hands can transfer disease amongst plants.  If you have removed a plant, be sure to wash your hands before tending to others.  Sickened plants are much easier for pests to destroy.

But soap and water is also a great way to control many pests.  Mix about one good squirt of dish soap into a gallon of hot water and spray it over your plants late in the day.  Be sure to thoroughly spray the undersides of leaves as well as they tend to hold the eggs of aphids and other pests.  This can aid in controlling an aphid infestation, but should not be used more than a week at a time.

 

Have any other pest control ideas that don’t require insecticides?  Feel free to comment them below and share them with everyone!

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